You’re probably asking “What is eSports?”
Plug yourself into the world’s hottest new competitive sport…video games! Or eSports is not as well understood as soccer, but it’s definitely easier to get than cricket. DMG Entertainment offers a brief insight into the exciting new world of eSports. So login and get your game on!
What Exactly is It?
eSports (a.k.a pro-gaming) is professional competitive video gaming. Skilled video gamers from around the world battle each other in organized multiplayer video game competitions.
Due to the international reach of eSports enthusiasts, these video game competitions are held both online and offline and many of the biggest are televised or live streamed.
Is eSports a Real Sport?
Even though eSports’ virtual environment makes this a loaded question, eSports skills parallel those of many traditional sports. Similar to poker and chess, eSports is a mind-based sport with a slight physical component (Hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, etc.).
Like other sports, practice, proper nutrition and stress management are essential for the top players. And like their athletic counterparts, the best eSports teams and players rake in the cash.
So is eSports Just One Game?
The term, “eSports”, encompasses numerous video games spread across different genres and consoles. The most common genres within eSports are multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA), first-person shooters (FPS), strategy, and fighting. Some of the most commonly played games in eSports are League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counter-Strike and StarCraft 2.
Although teams or individuals could theoretically play as many game titles as they want, the best teams focus on mastering one game, not unlike in athletic sports where even the best (Michael Jordan) in one sport is unable to master a second sport (baseball).
That’s Nice…Why Should I Care?
Even though organized video game competitions have been around for a while, eSports has rapidly grown in significance and popularity since the early 2010s.
As new players and spectators flooded to competitions, the game developer community began to take the professional side seriously by creating specific game features designed to support pro-gaming and establishing professional eSports tournaments.
Wait… What is a Professional eSports Tournament?
Although eSports tournaments can range in size, duration, location and skill level, the biggest draw of the eSports industry are heavily-funded, professionally-managed competitions just like the biggest athletic sporting events – Super Bowl, World Cup (seriously). The biggest names in gaming battle face-to-face in a large stadium complete with computer monitors, massive LED screens and thousands of screaming fans.
Since top eSports tournaments include multimillion dollar prize pools, these tournaments bring in first-rate players, thousands of attendees, and millions of online viewers. In some countries, viewers can even gamble on the tournament results.
Multimillion Dollar Prize Pools? Millions of Online Viewers?
Yup. For example, DOTA 2’s “The International” is actually one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The 2015 International, hosted in Seattle, had a prize pool of $18 million, that’s larger than those of Wimbledon, The Masters, the Super Bowl and the Tour de France. The International also had a viewership of approximately 20 million people worldwide, making it 2015’s fourth most watched sporting event. By the way, the second most watched sporting event was a League of Legend’s World Championship, which attracted 27 million viewers.
Back Up… How Big is the eSports Industry?
According to Deloitte Global, eSports will generate global revenues of approximately $500 million in 2016, with expected 2018 market value to reach nearly $2 billion. Although these numbers pale in comparison to the athletic sports such as soccer, American football and basketball, the key to eSports is its massive following. The 2016 eSports tournament audience, including regular and occasional viewers, will be roughly 256 million fans.
Who are The Big Teams in eSports?
Although hundreds of teams around the world square off in dozens of eSports tournaments, there are a few standout teams:
LGD Gaming: Chinese.
LGD competes in DOTA 2 and League of Legends tournaments. Since 2009, they’ve participated in 60 tournaments and made over $4 million in winnings.
Team Secret: European.
Team Secret has won big name tournies like The Summit, ESL One Frankfurt and Red Bull Battle Grounds. Even though, they primarily focus on DOTA 2, they have still earned over $1.8 million.
Cloud9: North American.
Cloud9 has competed in over 210 tournaments and earned more than $2.5 million. They have specific teams for different games, such as DOTA 2, Counter-Strike, Halo, Hearthstone, League of Legends and Smite.
Evil Geniuses: American.
The San Francisco-based Evil Geniuses is not only one of the oldest eSports organizations but also one of the largest in North America. They have played in over 470 events and earned over $11 million playing Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, StarCraft 2, DOTA 2, and League of Legends.
SK Telecom T1: South Korean.
SK Telecom T1 has participated in over 157 tournaments and earned over $3 million. They primarily focus on League of Legends, StarCraft 2 and StarCraft: Blood War. They also boast an all-star player – Faker (a.k.a Lee Sang-hyeok) is one of the best League of Legends players in the history of the game.
Fortune? Fame? Video Games? Sign Me Up! Not so fast. Breaking into eSports is as hard to do as becoming a professional athlete in any sport. First, you’re probably already too old. The average age of a pro-gamer is young, ranging from 16-25. Second, you’re probably too lazy. An aspiring pro-gamer must eat, sleep and breathe one particular game. From developing lightning fast reflexes to studying complicated strategies, eSports athletes must practice for countless hours to master their skill. The best players will have consistently played one game for YEARS.
Third, joining a pro-gaming team is a must and if you’re already too old and too lazy…you get the idea. From daily practice to constant travel, players need team support not only to improve their skills but also to manage their eSports affairs. Just like athletic sports, serious players must put it all on the line for a chance at glory.
That Sounds Tough… Maybe I’ll Just Watch the Competitions Instead. Although eSports competitions are primarily viewed from online video platforms, such as Twitch and PandaTV, eSports is gradually making its way to television. Not only does Turner Broadcasting air live eSports tournaments, but ESPN has recently expanded its coverage of major eSports competitions.
As eSports continues to develop, other broadcasters and streaming sites are bound to jump on board as well.
Fantastic, now you’re all caught up on eSports.
As for those who still think eSports isn’t a sport or is a fad: